FAITH-BASED companies are providing free and low-cost resources to individuals and organisations affected by Covid-19. Some are producing educational tools for children who are no longer able to attend school; others are giving individuals and churches online resources to help them to stay connected with their congregations.
Cinnamon Network has launched a series of webinars to help churches become involved in social-action projects. The company’s communications officer, Kate Sharma, said: “We already have a network of advisers across the country who are specialists in helping churches respond to specific needs such as food poverty, homelessness, isolation, and mental health. The challenge was sharing this knowledge as far and wide as possible, and the solution was a weekly webinar open to everyone. So far, we have run five webinars, with more than 500 participants in total.
“Many find it useful to hear what other churches are up to — to get ideas of what might work in their own context. Our simple desire is that we enable churches to do just that.”
Other companies, such as Church Service Planner and GoChatter, provide free online tools to help church leaders to plan interactive online services and pass on videos about Covid-19. Similarly, Pixel Preacher is providing free downloads of social-media graphics for churches, so that they can inform their congregations about updates and cancellations.
For those facing life in lockdown with children, Fischy Music, which writes worship songs for children, is streaming a free assembly every Monday on its Facebook page. Free resources for the teaching of RE are also available on the website TrueTube, which provides videos for teaching RE, PSHE, and citizenship. This complements what is available from the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education, which has materials for teachers and parents on its website.
Some Christian businesses have launched free resources for individuals. These include Dwell, the creators of an app which provides users with daily Bible readings, and which, since 19 March, has offered users 60 days free use; and Thyne, an app that allows users to record themselves saying prayers that can be sent to others.
The company Christian BSL has launched a series of videos on its website which seek to address the needs of deaf Christians. Their content includes the Lord’s Prayer in British Sign Language, and prayers for those who are struggling, owing to the virus.
The founder of Christian BSL,Tom Pearson, said: “We want to be able to support people working in deaf ministry and generally to support people in their work for their congregations, particularly if people need comfort when they can’t attend a funeral for a loved one: we have a specific prayer in BSL for that.”
He also said, however: “We don’t want to ‘cash in’ on the pandemic. Our income comes through donations to the website if people want to support us, but it is a ‘Pay what you want’ model. We know that times are tough at the moment; so we want people to check that they aren’t financially hurting themselves before they give anything.”